How does your healthcare organization deal with long patient wait times, staff burnout and measuring against patient satisfaction scores? Do you use real-time data to address these three common problems in healthcare today?
Glenn Raup from Providence St. Joseph’s hospital in Orange County sure does. Here's a recap of an interview with him during AONE 2019 during which he addressed how his emergency department organization uses better real-time data to deal with those 3 most common problems. You'll find the video interview with him below as well as a recap of the highlights.
Meet Glenn Raup
Glenn Raup is the Executive Director of Emergency Care Center Behavioral Health and Observation Services at Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange County. He runs one of the largest emergency departments under the Providence St. Joseph’s Health umbrella right in the metropolitan LA Orange County area.
As with many large hospitals, his nursing team faces many of the common problems seen today in healthcare – from long patient wait times, staff burnout and challenges measuring against patient satisfaction scores.
For perspective, here are thoughts we've shared in other blog articles about these problems.
Healthcare Problem #1 – Long Patient Wait Times
In How to Address Emergency Department Patient Flow Issues with Health IT, we mentioned that Emergency Departments (EDs) are one of the most challenging areas of any hospital to manage:
- High volumes of patients, often without enough clinical staff to care for them in a timely manner.
- The most critical cases need to be prioritized, without upsetting other waiting patients.
- Necessary equipment and care team members need to be located quickly, when they are needed most.
Finally, adding to those day-to-day frustrations, overcrowding is even leading to increased violence, according to a report released in August by the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety.
Healthcare Problem #2 – Staff Burnout
No surprise, physician burnout is real. In See Healthcare IT and Physician Burnout, we referred to the first ever Medical Economics physician burnout survey released in August 2019, which detailed that more than 92 percent of physicians have experienced burnout, 68% currently feel burnt out, and 73% have wanted to quit the practice of medicine as a result of burnout, based on feedback from over 1200 doctors.
Imagine combining that reality with the reality of an aging population with greater healthcare needs, health insurance challenges, hospital system profitability, increased focus on patient satisfaction, concerns about patient safety, and all of the other pressures that the industry faces, losing medical professionals to burnout is not one than anyone can ignore.
Healthcare Problem #3 – Measuring Against Patient Satisfaction Scores
Speaking of increased focus on patient satisfaction, that in turn creates another major healthcare problem completed intertwined with the first two problems. How can any healthcare organization manage to delight patients when the day-to-day reality seems to involve nothing but waiting while surrounded by burnt-out staff?
Raup’s Solution to those 3 Healthcare Problems? Better Real-Time Data
A big focus for Raup and Providence St. Joseph’s is accurate and timely data. The more accurate and timely, the more he and his team can make decisions that can positively impact patient flow, patient satisfaction and all the different outcomes that matter in running a top healthcare facility.
Only with accurate and timely data could he reduce wait times at various stages in the patient flow and optimize the usage of hospital resources such as equipment, staff and rooms.
The Healthcare Data Challenge
Data, though, presents three challenges:
- Accessing it when you need it when there's lots of constantly updating data
- Struggling with whether or not that data is entered in a timely manner, is manipulated upon entry and so forth
- Using it to make decisions
Yet, that data is absolutely critical. You need to be able to pull data from electronic medical records and other sources in a cohesive and coherent manner so that you are able to make decisions.
Raup and his team sought a solution that would be able to eliminate the challenges, provide real-time information and real-time data so that they could look at their processes and be able to marry up that information with their electronic medical record and other traditional sources of information.
Through TAGNOS, they opted for a clinical Emergency Department software solution platform that pulls in RFID data through an RTLS real-time locating traffic system whereby it looks at information on a real-time basis, provides that information back to Raup's team as questions and then enables the team to really see the process of what's occurring in the patient care continuum.
At the core of that information is accuracy - which is near and dear to Raup's heart! The information happens in real-time and not contingent on someone entering the information.
It represents what is actually happening with patients or providers, nurses, physicians, etc. as they do their jobs.
How the ED-Orchestration Solution Works
To highlight how powerfully simple this solution is, here’s how it works.
- A tracking device is put on the patient at the time of arrival
- Staff has a tracking device
- Point-to-point systems are placed throughout the emergency department and the hospital at certain key points to track that information.
That allows all the providers, the nurses, and the ancillary staff to do what they do best: provide care for the patient. The information is tracked automatically.
Likewise, when the patient moves through that system, those time intervals are tracked automatically providing such a wealth of information for decision-making.
What Kind of Results Has Providence St. Joseph Seen?
Raup started by looking at key clinical processes such as strokes, stemming sepsis and the things that are all emergency departments across the country struggle with, and patient satisfaction as an outcome.
He was able to look at processes and overlay the TAGNOS data on top of that, providing eye-opening experiences.
Example – Making Meaning for Patients
For example, it’s easy to track the time the patient was put in the room and how long until the provider or the nurse got in the room.
However, without better real-time data, you aren't able to gather insights about what effect the time the provider or nurse spends in the room and then how many times they go back into the room has on the patient.
Because all of these activities are collected automatically within the TAGNOS system, Raup is able to marry that with patient outcome scores and has discovered eye-opening insights for physician partners and as well as for nurses.
The things traditionally thought to increase patient satisfaction actually didn't. Certain activities didn’t have meaning for the patient and weren't a value-added benefit.
Advice for Other Healthcare Systems Looking to Use Data to Address Challenges
It's definitely a struggle for many hospitals and healthcare systems to deal with the cost of IT and the rapid rate of IT change. However, as Raup details, if you can implement a system such as this, you receive intensely rich and powerful data that isn't contingent upon someone entering it at a time that's convenient for them or changing or manipulating it. It's just data that's based on what you do in the practice of providing care.
- Reaching out and finding an organization such as TAGNOS to partner with
- Looking at using the infrastructure of wireless technology to track patient movement and patient flow
- Marrying that data up with clinical outcomes data
If you can do that in today's very complicated IT world, you generate a low-tech simple solution that is incredibly rich with data.
To anyone considering how do you get your hands wrapped around this mountain of data that hospital systems collect already but everyone struggles with the accuracy and the timeliness of it, do it.
There aren’t enough hours in the day to document the myriad of things to do. This is something that every clinician and every provider has to find time for. The TAGNOS solution allows you to just do patient care and not worry about what happens in that process. The software solution tracks that. Then, when you pull in other data, you have a strong compelling case for looking at a variety of outcomes from process to patient care to provider satisfaction to patient satisfaction and the list goes on.
As Raup states, definitely invest in IT and look for solutions such as TAGNOS with a very simple process that gives you valuable information in real-time.
Here's the 9-minute video interview with Glenn Raup.
TAGNOS is the future of clinical automation software solutions with Artificial Intelligence. It is the only platform offering predictive analytics utilizing machine learning and RTLS. This groundbreaking platform leverages historical patient data continuously and adjusts operational intelligence to provide sustainable improvement to both the patient experience and metrics.
TAGNOS provides clinical systems integration, customizable reporting, dashboards, alerts, critical communication with staff and family to improve turnaround times, supporting patient flow, workflow orchestration, and asset management.
In the course of 13 months, hospitals see a 12.7% reduction in its overall cycle time - saving an average of 40 minutes from each case and over $1.6M per year - more than 11x the typical investment.
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